“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted, like trees.
Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and confused.
So like children, we begin again…
patiently to trust our heaviness.
Even a bird has to do that
before he can fly.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke, Rilke’s Book of Hours: Love Poems to God
I have two wonderful friends, sisters Amy & Nancy Harrington. Each month they prompt me to write a bi-monthly blog post for my HDSereneScapes® film website and apps. Then they promote the posts on multiple sites when they go live as well.
It is likely unknown to them how much their ideas and support means to me. They bring me back to why I do what I do in a very grounding manner. They come up with wonderful quotes or ideas through out the year, that shatter my business and sometimes pressured life perspective and grant me a new or familiar reminder. For in the process of writing my thoughts from their suggestions, they bring my mind to an even more open and grounded perspective.
Rilke’s poem is no different. The late bohemian Austrian poet from the turn of the last century was often more brilliant with his perspective on our coming future than his prose he was so appreciated for in his day. Although raised a Catholic, his openness and awareness of life saw him keeping spiritual connections closer to his heart than a belief in a deity. His supreme ruler seemed to be nature, that which was outside us, and who we really are, calm and grounded inside us. He would verse finding connection between the two.
Simply put, and I often forget, is that that is what I’m trying to do with my HDSereneScapes® films. Bring a connection, a balance, a look outside, and inside our world and ourselves. All in the hopes of appreciating ourselves and the beauty our world has to offer, if we protect it.
The entire poem is of a time past, looking to the future, asking us to respect the intelligence and power of nature. Yet, at the same time, he is asking us to remove the day to day pressures we put on ourselves. He is asking us to loosen up and let go with nature. Become grounded. Appreciate being settled and at peaceful respect of nature and ourselves.
In a sense, he is asking us not to ‘chase the golden squirrel’ of riches and wealth only to miss the true value of this amazing planet of ours. That value is not in the resources we pillage, but in the ebb and flow of nature itself. The respect for it’s transforming capabilities and how we can flow with an appreciation of its wealth of beauty and sustainable nurturing cycle of life.
He is asking us to remember a time when as children, we wondered at the world around us, playing in nature, touching it, feeling it, smelling it… something we rarely now give ourselves, instead burying our heads in our devices and entertainment distractions.
To gain connection, to be in touch with who we are, as people, and as individuals, we have to go back and connect with our childish respect for nature, and appreciate its serenity.
At any given moment If we can become settled in our minds, preferably in nature, or in a quite room, breathing easily, and letting go of our pressures, trusting in the quite and silence, we can, awaken and fly.
Becoming the better stewards of our planet and, how we treat ourselves and others is a part of that journey, that flight of our lives.
Native, Aboriginal, Polynesian and other peoples who have long heritages and family awareness going back millennium respect and understand this way of life. They were truly living rich connected lives with each other and the planet. Their cultures are filled with myths defining respect for nature, and how to move in harmony with it… or die. They have lived in nature, created sustainable lives, connecting with and living only for their needs, not taking more than they require. As such, nature more often than not, gave back in abundance for all that they required..
Yet societies that do not respect nature, often do irreversible harm to all around them, including nature, the life force that sustains us all.
If like a tree, we want to grow strong and tall, we do not have to destroy life in the process. We can learn what our ancestors new, yet we don’t have to do it with the struggle they lived with. We can both respect nature, protect it, and acquire only that which we need, that which is renewable and sustainable.
This will be a significant challenge as our world is rapidly racing toward capacity. In fact, we have passed that point both in population and parts per million of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.
The world we have known is rapidly changing whether we deny it or not. We must raise up from our roots, trust our heaviness and move to repair our world in order to fly free again.
The choice, clearly, has always been ours.
Either that, or Rilke was simply saying, we will die, and only then, become connected again with nature.